By managing the habitat, we manage the wildlife. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency serve as our partners. Wildlife includes white-tailed deer, Fallow deer, American bison, elk, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, river otters, mice, squirrels, moles, shrews, bats, and birds.
Situated in the Mississippi Flyway, we host a variety of migratory birds. Bald eagles, gulls, ducks, geese, hummingbirds, warblers, tanagers, great blue heron, ospreys, owls, and hawks live here. Our two large, flowing lakes and nearby rivers provide ample food and habitats for a birders paradise every day of the year.
We develop and manage habitats that will help restore populations of native wildlife. TVA, along with other state and federal agencies, successfully restored or reintroduced bald eagles, ospreys, wild turkeys, and river otters. Refuges, sanctuaries, and our Nature Watch Areas protect sensitive species such as the bald eagle, and gray bat. Artificial nesting boxes have also been placed in key spots around the recreation area. Many were built by Eagle Scouts.
Hunting is used to control population of some wildlife species, such as white-tailed deer, and to provide recreational opportunities. State and federal laws and rules regulate hunting
Biologists, students, staff, and volunteers help monitor the health and status of the various wildlife populations each year. For example, each December the Audubon Society conducts a Christmas Bird Count here. Each August, the Hummer/Bird Study Group conducts a survey of our hummingbird population. Our staff also conducts spring breeding bird surveys, summer turkey brood surveys, and monitors bald eagles and white-tail deer populations.
Two large rivers, the Tennessee and Cumberland, surround Land Between the Lakes. The federal government dammed these rivers in the north to create two large reservoirs — Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. These man-made reservoirs created an inland peninsula, 8-12 miles wide, 40 miles long, bordered on the north end by a cut away canal that connects both lakes. The 170,000 acre peninsula has close to 300 miles of natural shoreline. Forest covers an estimated 90% with about 10% open lands.
Wildlife diversity is extensive and provides some of the best wildlife viewing in the state. The national recreation area contains close to 1,300 flora species and 55 mammal species including bobcat, coyote, beaver, elk, and bison. Researchers, staff, and state wildlife agencies have documented over 250 species of birds. The Tennessee River offers the highest fish diversity of any river in the United States. Plants, insects, and wildflowers are well represented.
The Woodlands Nature Watch Area hosts the best opportunity to view a wide array of wildlife. The U.S. Forest Service manages this 8,500-acre area for wildlife visibility. It contains uplands, prairie, wetlands, lakeshore, and bottomland forest. The Nature Watch Area’s diverse habitats give the visitor an excellent chance to observe them. Start your wildlife viewing with Nature Station naturalists.
Austin Peay State University Center for Field Biology researched and produced other books documenting wildlife on Land Between The Lakes that include two books by Edward Chester:
- Annotated Catalogue of Vascular Plants Known From Land Between The Lakes, Kentucky and Tennessee
- Wildflowers of the Land Between the Lakes Region, Kentucky and Tennessee
As often as possible, Edward Chester leads our Wildflower Walk around Earth Day in April.
David H. Snyder researched and published Birds of Land Between the Lakes in 1991 through Austin Peay State University.
These books provided foundation for Johnny Molloy who worked with us to write and produce an Outdoor Recreation Handbook:
As long as these reference books are in print, we will have them for sale in our gift shops.